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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Wind Power Forecast Project in US

Project began in December and will extend up to September 2010

The US Department of Energy (DoE) invited the Portuguese INESC-Porto (Research Institute of Computer Systems) to develop a new and better platform for wind power forecasting. The project will enable to estimate with high accuracy and less uncertainty the production of wind energy for timelines up to 72 hours (short-term forecasts).

The work is for ANL (Argonne National Laboratory), from the network of Laboratories of the DoE. It began in December and it will extend up to September 2010, seeking to reduce the current forecasts margin of error of around 20 % to about 15 %, according to Vladimiro Miranda, Director of INESC and coordinator of this project. It is a tool that can "minimize the potential risks of the increasing US dependence on renewable energies: blackouts."

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"The work that we will develop will add new features to the models that we have today. What we pledge to do for ANL was a different and more intelligent model. Something different and better than the actual," told the director of INESC, adding that the current wind power forecasting tools already have an anticipation of three days. The challenge now is to reduce the margin of error and do an upgrade of these instruments. By the end of this year the INESC will develop a prototype and will go to comparative tests with real data.

With a climate that ranges between temperate and subtropical and given the local geography, the errors in predicting the wind, second Vladimiro Miranda, can have more serious consequences in the US than in any European country . Thus, the model designed by the Portuguese team of researchers will be used in the unstable US territory to prevent possible power cuts. "Prevention has to do with the need to forecast accurately," notes Miranda. The Project coordinator emphasizes that planning is more important in the US, where there is no hydroelectric alternative (as exists in the Iberian Peninsula, for example) and where, in an emergency due to a failure of a thermal power plant, wind power can be activated in some hours and a nuclear can take days.

"It is expected that the more accurate estimate of the amount of wind in a given location will have a considerable impact on the North American electricity industry, allowing lower price of wind energy in the US. The Horizon Wind Energy, owned by EDP Renováveis, the 4th largest wind energy producer in the world, whose presence in the US is increasingly strong, was invited by ANL (Argonne National Laboratory) to be an observer and a potential provider of real data, " said a press note from INESC.

Despite the low position in the international context with a percentage of production of only 1 %, the US have the faster pace in the development of wind power around the world. Portugal is one of the leaders in this area, occupying the 3rd place (behind Denmark and Spain) in the world ranking of wind energy with a production of about 10 %. According to Vladimiro Miranda, that means one in every ten hours of energy we spend comes from the wind, adding that INESC collaborates in a project to ensure the supply security in the Iberian Peninsula by 2025.

However, despite only reserving 1 % of the energy production for wind, the US already has more capacity than Portugal in terms of absolute values. Therefore, Portugal will export to the U.S. some of the knowledge acquired in this field. "In the field of wind energy Europe is about ten or twelve years ahead of the U.S.," notes the project coordinator of INESC.

Image: Aerial photo of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory,



PRand said...

this is good news. i have recently begun research wind-powered products on

i live in downtown chicago, not far from argonne national lab.

latest wind-related post...designapplause ten wind turbines

and check out "wind" category

Wilson Pon said...

I'm very excited about this project and hope it many people will benefit from this project in the future!

Anonymous said...


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project coordinator job description

Tks again and nice keep posting

Luís Alves said...

Thanks, David!